Monday, December 28, 2009

Leftovers, Leftovers

What to do with those leftovers. I hate throwing out food.  Holiday ham is no exception.  Needless to say, last night I had about 6 oz. or so of leftover holiday ham. (Delicious stuff, too, thanks to my cousin's fine cooking.)  But just ham alone is not a meal. I didn't want another ham sandwich! What to do, what to do.

I've always been pretty good at inventing dishes, so last night I looked around the kitchen. Hmmm.... ham, ham, ham. I had one lonely egg in the fridge. Ham & 1 egg... nope, that won't do.

I love Italian foods, so I always  have a few types of pasta on hand. Spaghetti seems to be the noodle of the day. Ham & spaghetti? hmmm.. So this is what I did.  All ingredient measurements are approximate.

1/2 lb. spaghetti (uncooked weight)
6 oz. sliced leftover ham diced to bite size pieces.
4 oz. unsalted butter
3 oz (roughly) sifted flour
1 1/2 C whole milk
salt and pepper to taste (I didn't add salt, 'cause the ham's salty enough)
4 oz. frozen peas
1 egg scrambled
Fresh ground Pecorino romano cheese

In a large pot, boil water, and cook spaghetti according to package directions.

While your pasta water is boiling, prepare your other ingredients.  Once the pasta is in the water, in a small saucepan over low-medium heat, make a roux - melt butter to just barely bubbling and whisk in flour a little at a time until it just barely starts to thicken.  Don't let the butter/flour mix turn brown.  For this one, I didn't want a thick sauce, so I didn't put so much flour in.  Add milk slowly, a little at a time, whisking 'til combined.   Add fresh ground pepper ( I grind by the number of wrist twists.. I used 5 twists).  Add ham and peas, cover and lower heat to simmer until pasta is done cooking.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot over medium heat.  Pour over the ham sauce mix, and mix thoroughly until hot.  Add the egg, and toss until it starts to hold together a bit, maybe 1 or 2 minutes.  Serve immediately with fresh Pecorino romano cheese, or parmesan.

This takes no time to make.. in the time it took to boil the water and cook the spaghetti, dinner was done.  So maybe about 20 minutes.  And it turned out fabulous. I couldn't wait to have it for leftovers for lunch today!


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  2. Sounds like a great use for some leftover ham, thanks for the idea.